Patriarchy Choir of Tbilisi Holy Trinity (Sameba) Cathedral
This ancient a cappella art is characterized by an unique polyphonic musical language and thinking, an archaic and self-sustaining modal harmony, a rare musical expression force, an elevated spiritual and artistic nature imprinted with kindness, goodness, peace and light.
The Patriarchy Choir for Sameba Cathedral was created in 1998, with the prayers, blessings and at the initiative of His Beatitude Father Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All-Georgia.
Leaders of the Choir:
- Svimon (Jiki) Jangulashvili, Doctor of Art Studies, Magister of Choral Conduction
- Giorgi Donadze, Magister of Choral Conduction
- Zviad Bolkvadze, composer and Magister of Choral Conduction, PhD at the Department of Composition of Tbilisi, Vano Sarajishvili State Conservatoire.
The choir has studied the Georgian unique polyphonic chant dating back to Middle Ages. This musical tradition is recognized by researchers as one of the most ancient professional polyphonic traditions (existing since 5th-6th centuries AD, if not earlier). This ancient a cappella art is characterized by an unique polyphonic musical language and thinking, an archaic and self-sustaining modal harmony, a rare musical expression force, an elevated spiritual and artistic nature imprinted with kindness, goodness, calmness and light. During the 19th-20th centuries, this tradition suffered strong persecution and oppression from the Russian occupation. Despite this fact, in these times exactly, the Georgian patriots have managed to write down more than 8,000 hymns in the European score system that used to be narrated by heart from generation to generation since Middle Ages. Today, only a little part of this heritage is performed during the service of Georgian Divine Liturgy and in concert halls.
Several years ago, the Patriarch has assigned the Choir of Sameba Cathedral the mission to restore and promote this unique musical tradition into the patriarchal liturgy after the long period of oblivion. The main part of the choire’s repertoire is made up by polyphonic chants abiding by this Middle Age tradition. Nowadays, the repertoire of the choir includes several hundred such unique old Georgian hymns, many of them performed exclusively by this choir.
Along with old chants, the choir sings a lot of the Georgian folk music, famous already in the whole world (its repertoire includes many remarkable and outstanding versions of folk songs), and also some unique polyphonic songs of various genres and musical structures. In 2001, the ancient Georgian vocal polyphony was recognized by UNESCO as the unique and intangible monument of non-material culture of the humanity.
The new Georgian ecclesiastic music has an important presence in the repertoire of the Sameba Cathedral Choir. The choir is, in fact, the only performer in Georgia in view of many modern chants. Amongst the new ecclesiastic composers, His Beatitude Father Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All-Georgia is a remarkable one. The first performer of his many hymns has been the Choir of Holy Trinity Cathedral itself. Performed by the Patriarchy Choir, the new Georgian hymns, along with the ancient Georgian chants, have gained wide popularity and love amongst the great number of listeners.
Besides the aforementioned musical genres, the choir’s repertoire includes also choral works of modern Georgian composers. This stratum of the Georgian music stands out through the synthesis of national and European musical traditions, and through original uses of many composing methods in the national musical language. The most significant part of the modern Georgian choral repertoire belongs to Ioseb Kechakmadze, the well-known Georgian composer, classical master of Georgian choral music. His name is connected to the rise of Georgian choral music in the 20th century, the training of many Georgian choral composers and conductors, the creation of choral groups.
The choir takes part in all the divine services and travels undertaken by the Patriarch of Georgia, both in Georgia and abroad (in countries such as Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Lithuania, Russia, Italy, France, England, the Ukraine). The choir has participated also in many national and international musical festivals, in Georgia and in other countries such as Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Lithuania, the Ukraine. The Patriarchy Choir of the Holy Trinity Cathedral has had successful concert performances on the following international stages: Salle Pleyel (Paris), St. Johns Smith square (London), Moscow International House of music, Philharmonic concert halls of Kiev and Vilnius and many others. Either in church services or stage performances, the choir constantly enjoys recognition from common listeners and specialists, and, most of all, their affection and love.
YouTube official: Trinity Cathedral Choir